westbar's blog

Ned J. Nakles American Inn of Court Announces 2011-2012 Schedule

The Ned J. Nakles American Inn of Court includes Westmoreland County attorneys and judges and meets at the Westmoreland Bar Association headquarters once a month during the school year.

Any attorney or judge interested in joining the local Inns of Court should contact an Inns officer or the Executive Director of the Westmoreland Bar Association.

Ned J. Nakles American Inn of Court Schedule
  • Wednesday, September 14, 2011
  • Wednesday, October 26, 2011
  • Thursday, November 17, 2011
  • Wednesday, December 7, 2011
  • Thursday, January 19, 2012
  • Wednesday, February 22, 2012
  • Thursday, March 22, 2012
  • Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Please mark your calendars and plan to join us on each of the meeting dates for dinner, refreshments, camaraderie and education. Also, note that meetings start at 5 pm at WBA Headquarters.

Notice on Civil/Orphans' Court Motions

There will be no civil or orphans’ court motions heard on Friday, July 29, 2011, due to the State Trial Judges’ Conference being held during that time.

Counsel should make arrangements to present motions on a prior or subsequent Friday with Judge Caruso, Judge Marsili or Judge McCormick, Jr.

Notice on Civil/Orphans' Court Motions

Judge McCormick, Jr. will not be hearing civil or orphans’ court motions on the following Friday: July 22, 2011. Counsel should make arrangements to present motions on a prior or subsequent Friday.

Tentative Common Level Ratios figure released

From David Wolfe, Recorder of Deeds, Second Deputy

The State Tax Equalization Board will not be able to complete all Counties Common Level Ratios by July 1, the Board does plan, however, to complete all required calculations and make all required certifications by the end of July.  The tentative figure for the new CLR for Westmoreland County is 4.66, this number is nor absolute or certified at this time.  The STEB anticipates that the number will be accurate.  Once the certified numbers are released the department of revenue will refund any overpayments of tax and will assess and bill any underpayment.

Attention Court-Appointed Attorneys

Pursuant to the court-appointed attorney guidelines, court-appointed counsel are asked to submit Fee Petitions on a timely basis. For criminal cases, fee petitions should be submitted at the conclusion of the preliminary hearing and quarterly thereafter for each case, excluding capital cases, which shall be submitted monthly. For family cases, petitions should be submitted after each review hearing and/or case disposition. If you need a copy of the current guidelines, please contact the Court Administrator’s Office, Danielle Frye, at 724.830.3393.

Jury Commissioners Office Now Accepting On-line Responses to Juror Summons

Westmoreland County jurors may now respond on-line to answer their juror questionnaires as an alternative to mailing the paper form back to the Jury Commissioners Office. In addition, on-line responses allow the juror to provide a cell phone number or email address to be notified of the status of his/her jury service date.

To respond to your Juror Summons on-line, please have your juror number and date of service available, and go to the Westmoreland County website at: http://www.co.westmoreland.pa.us/jury

Fine Print Blurs Who’s in Control of Online Photos

From the May 22, 2011, New York Times

By JOSHUA BRUSTEIN

If you post a photo on the Web, it still belongs to you, right? Well, be sure to read the fine print.

World Entertainment News Network, a news and photo agency, announced this month that it had become the “exclusive photo agency partner” of Twitpic, a service with over 20 million registered users that allows people to upload images and link to them on Twitter. The deal allows the agency to sell images posted on Twitpic for publication, and to pursue legal action against those who use such images commercially without its permission, according to the agency.

“There has been much unauthorized use of Twitpic images which we shall be addressing without delay,” said Lloyd Beiny, the agency’s chief executive.

World Entertainment News, whose photo business revolves largely around shots of celebrities, says it is interested only in the photographs posted to the accounts of people like Britney Spears, Russell Brand and Demi Moore. But the scope of the deal is not clear, and professional photographers are worried that it could allow the agency to profit from any photo posted to Twitpic. Others say Twitpic’s move shows the tenuous control people have over what they post through Internet services.

The extent of that control is typically laid out in the terms of service that users agree to when they sign up for Internet services and smartphone applications. But the more such services people use, the harder it becomes to keep track of the things to which they are agreeing. And of course many terms of service, which are heavy on legal language, include clauses that assert the company’s right to change them without notice.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/23/technology/23terms.html

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in Pennsylvania Continue to Decline

From the May 22, 2011, Tribune-Review

By Bobby Kerlik
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, May 22, 2011

The number of medical malpractice cases filed against Pennsylvania doctors and hospitals dropped in 2010, the sixth consecutive annual decline.

"In reality, medical malpractice lawsuits are not as prolific as people think," Pittsburgh attorney George Kontos said. "Any good attorney is very cautious about taking a case. I probably reject about 90 percent of people that come to me."

In 2002 — the year malpractice lawsuits peaked at 2,904 — new rules designed to weed out frivolous lawsuits took effect, and experts credit those rules with the decline in lawsuits in the years that followed.

One requires plaintiffs to get another doctor in the same field to sign off on the claims, showing the suit had merit. Another requires malpractice claims to be filed in the county where the alleged malpractice occurred. That prevents lawyers from filing cases in counties where they believe juries will be more sympathetic, lawyers said.

Last year, 1,491 malpractice suits were filed, according to a report released last week by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

Read more: Malpractice lawsuits in Pennsylvania continue to decline - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Notice on Civil/Orphans' Court Motions

NOTICE: The Civil Trial Judges will NOT be hearing civil and orphans’ court motions on the following Fridays:

  • Judge Gary P. Caruso: May 27, 2011; June 10, 2011; July 29, 2011
  • Judge Richard E. McCormick, Jr.: June 24, 2011; August 12, 2011; August 19, 2011; September 16, 2011; September 23, 2011
  • Judge Anthony G. Marsili: July 1, 2011; August 12, 2011

Counsel should make arrangements to present motions on prior or subsequent Fridays.

Pa. Annual Attorney Registration Can Be Completed Online Starting May 2, 2011

The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce the annual attorney registration can be completed online beginning Monday, May 2, 2011.

Attorneys will be able to register to be an e-filer using the court's automated online system. The online process also will allow a firm to register all its attorneys at one time and more efficiently than the previous paper-only method.

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